The Open Road is Calling: Why an RV GPS Makes Travel Easier

Let me tell you a story. Last summer, we decided to fulfill our dream of touring the country in an RV. We were giddy with excitement as we hit the road in our brand new home on wheels, eager for the adventure that lay ahead. However, that enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration as we realized our plain old GPS just wasn’t cutting it for RV travel.

We found ourselves constantly rerouting to avoid low bridges and tight turns that our rig just couldn’t maneuver through. And we’d hold our breath each time we approached a narrow road, hoping there would be somewhere to pull over if we met an oncoming vehicle. After nearly sideswiping a bus in downtown Austin, we’d had enough. It was time to upgrade to a GPS designed specifically for RVs.

After doing some research, we chose the Rand McNally RVND7720 and let me tell you, it was a game changer! Here are a few reasons why investing in an RV GPS can make travel less stressful and more enjoyable:

Custom Routing Saves Time and Frustration

The biggest benefit of an RV GPS is custom routing tailored to your vehicle’s size and needs. For example, the Rand McNally unit lets you input the height, width, length and weight of your rig. It then maps out a route avoiding low clearances and tight turns.

I’ll never forget the white knuckle drive through narrow country backroads that our old GPS sent us on. Our RV GPS avoids tricky situations like that by sticking to wider boulevards and highways suited to larger vehicles. We may drive a few extra miles, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

Protect Your Investment

RVs are major investments, so an RV-specific GPS helps protect you from accidental damage.

My neighbor learned this lesson the hard way when his GPS directed him under an overpass that was a few inches too short for his motorhome. Let’s just say he incurred some hefty repair bills that could have been avoided.

Many RV GPS units like the Rand McNally even allow you to set a “warning distance” so you get an alert if you approach a bridge or tunnel that’s cutting it close. Definitely helps avoid cringe-worthy noises like screeching roof vents!

Find RV-Friendly Routes and Parking

While a regular GPS may get you from Point A to Point B just fine, it doesn’t account for the unique needs of RV travelers.

An RV GPS provides routing to keep you on the wide open road as much as possible. And it can locate RV-accessible gas stations where you can easily maneuver a big rig. No more circling for an hour trying to fill up!

These units also include campground and parking directories to help you find spots suitable for a large vehicle. Some even incorporate user ratings on accessibility and big-rig friendliness.

For example, the Rand McNally RVND7730 includes over 14,000 RV parks complete with amenity info like space widths, hookup locations and any length restrictions. It takes the guesswork out of picking a spot!

Feel Confident Navigating Tight Spaces

Parking a 20-foot Class C is tricky enough. But backing a 40-foot Fifth Wheel into a campsite takes serious skill!

RV GPS units provide features to take the stress out of navigating tight spaces. For example, the Rand McNally model offers turn-by-turn directions that actually tell you which way to turn the wheel when maneuvering into a spot.

It also has a “data bar” visual that helps guide you back centimeter by centimeter. No more relying on hand signals from your frustrated spouse who fears you’re about to take out the water hookup!

Access Useful Trip-Planning Features

RV travel involves more preparation than just entering an address and hitting the road. You need to plan your route carefully and locate places to stop overnight or refuel along the way.

RV GPS units include handy trip-planning tools to make this process easier. For example, the Rand McNally device lets you chart out multiple destinations and find ideal stopping points.

You can also search for points of interest like RV service centers, rest areas, dump stations and more. It takes a lot of the tedious research out of travel prep.

Some units even incorporate weather overlays and alerts to help you avoid driving in hazardous road conditions. Pretty handy when you’re piloting 8,000 lbs of vehicle down the highway!

Enjoy Peace of Mind on the Open Road

When you’re embarking on an epic weeks- or months-long RV trip, putting your trust in technology is a must. Having an RV-specific GPS unit provides confidence and convenience for the journey ahead.

You can relax knowing you have a digital co-pilot to safely guide your home on wheels without any close calls. It opens up a world of adventure, letting you focus on creating memories instead of worrying about tight squeezes or low clearance.

With features tailored specially to RVs, these devices take the guesswork and stress out of travel. You can embark on your road trip dreams assured you have the right navigation tool for the job.

So if you’re ready to upgrade your travel experience, skip the smartphone GPS and get yourself a dedicated RV navigation unit. Your journey will be so much smoother, safer and more fun. The open road is calling – and now you’re ready to answer!

Key Differences Between Regular and RV GPS Units

If you’ve only ever used the GPS on your phone, you may be wondering what makes RV-specific units so special. Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences:

Routing & Navigation

  • Avoids low clearances, weight limits, tight turns – Routes tailored to your RV’s size
  • RV parking & campground directories – Easily find suitable spots
  • RV-friendly routing – Keeps you on wider roads

Trip Planning Tools

  • Multiple destination input – Plot out your cross-country route
  • RV point-of-interest search – Easily locate gas stations, dump stations, service centers, etc.

Alerts & Warnings

  • Low clearance alerts – Get a heads up about close calls
  • Weather overlays – Avoid driving in unsafe conditions
  • Hazardous condition warnings – Steer clear of steep grades, high wind zones, etc.

Backup Assist Features

  • Turn-by-turn backing guidance – Know which way to turn the wheel
  • Visual aids – Use data bars to help guide you back precisely

So while a smartphone GPS is fine for everyday commuting, RVers need a tool designed specifically with their unique navigation needs in mind. And that’s where an RV GPS shines!

Key Features to Look For in an RV GPS

If you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to an RV-friendly GPS, how do you pick the right one? Here are some key features to look for:

Easy to Update Maps & Info

Since road restrictions and RV parks change over time, you’ll want a unit with updateable maps and directories. Look for ones like the Garmin RV 770 that offer lifetime map updates included with purchase. This ensures you always have the latest navigation data.

Detailed Campsite Info

A unit that includes specific campsite measurements and hookup locations takes the guesswork out of picking a spot. The Magellan RV9365T has an extensive campground directory with details like pad widths, picnic table locations and dump station proximity.

Custom Avoidance Settings

Input your actual height, width, length and weight limitations so your GPS can route you around risky areas. Units like the Rand McNally TND Tablet 70 allow very customized avoidance settings.

Backup Camera Input

Units that connect with backup cameras like the Rand McNally RVND7720 make maneuvering much less stressful by letting you clearly monitor your blindspots.

Large, Bright Display

Go for a large 7-inch or bigger display that’s easy to see in all lighting. A anti-glare and bright screen like the Garmin dezl OTR800 helps improve safety by reducing driver distraction.

Truck-Friendly Mounting

Look for strong magnetic or suction cup mounts that keep your unit secure on the windshield without blocking vision. The Rand McNally OverDryver 7 Pro has an ultra sticky pad that handles the vibrations of large vehicles.

Voice Command Capability

For added convenience, find a unit with built-in voice control like the Rand McNally TND Tablet 85 to get directions, search for points of interest and more while keeping your eyes on the road.

With an RV GPS tailored to your specific needs, you can feel confident and comfortable embarking on your road trip adventure. Safe travels!

Cost Breakdown of RV GPS Features

Once you decide to upgrade to an RV GPS, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the features and options. With prices ranging from $150 on up to over $500, what should you expect to pay for certain capabilities? Here’s a quick breakdown:

Basic Navigation + RV Routing: $150 – $250

At this price point, you get basic navigation tailored to RVs including:

  • Custom routing and restrictions based on RV dimensions
  • Basic campground directory
  • Some points of interest like gas stations & rest stops
  • 5” to 7” screen

Premium Navigation + Trip Planning: $250 – $400

Moving up in price gets you enhanced navigation and planning tools:

  • More detailed & extensive campground info
  • Larger 7” HD display with anti-glare
  • Weather overlays
  • Elevation maps to avoid steep grades
  • Improved POI database
  • Hands-free voice control

Luxury Navigation with Backup Assist: $400+

Top-of-the-line units add high-end features like:

  • Integrated wireless backup camera
  • Turn-by-turn backing guidance
  • Additional safety alerts and notifications
  • More robust POI database with user reviews
  • Lifetime map updates
  • Large 8” or bigger extra bright display
  • Multi-destination trip planning

While you certainly don’t need every bell and whistle, investing in an RV GPS with features that fit your travel style can give you the best experience on the road. Focus on what will make your journey smoother, less stressful and more fun.

Recommended RV GPS Models

If you’re ready to trade in your smartphone for a dedicated RV navigation unit, here are some top-rated models to consider:

Garmin RV 770

  • Large 7” display
  • Customizable routing and restrictions
  • Extensive campground directory with site images
  • Lifetime map updates included
  • Wireless camera connectivity

Cost: $350

Magellan RV9365T

  • 7” touchscreen with bright display
  • Parking and backing guidance
  • Spoken turn-by-turn directions
  • Extensive campground info w/ hookup details
  • Bluetooth & traffic alerts

Cost: $280

Rand McNally TND Tablet 70

  • 7” HD touchscreen
  • RV-specific routing & dimensions
  • RV-friendly points of interest
  • Mileage & route reports
  • Multi-stop trip planning
  • Spoken directions & commands

Cost: $250

Garmin dezl OTR800

  • 8” HD display
  • Built-in wireless camera
  • Turn-by-turn backing guidance
  • Customizable truck routing
  • Lifetime map updates
  • Voice command capabilities

Cost: $500

Rand McNally OverDryver 7 Pro

  • 7” matte display with anti-glare
  • RV parking, campground & services
  • Altitude maps to avoid steep grades
  • Weather and hazard overlay alerts
  • Hands-free voice control
  • Ultra sticky suction pad

Cost: $400

While everyone’s preferences and budget will differ, any of these user-friendly options can provide peace of mind and convenience for your RV travels.

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